Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man will plead next week in stabbing, shooting of friend

Ronald Gonterman
Ronald Gonterman

IOWA CITY — A Cedar Rapids man, nicknamed “Santa Claus,” will plead guilty to lesser charges Monday in the stabbing and shooting of his friend last June.  

Ronald G. Gonterman, 66, originally charged with attempted murder, was going to plead today but a judge reset the hearing to Monday in Johnson County District Court. His trial was previously set for April 3.

The trial information was amended Friday, adding charges of willful injury causing serious injury, assault causing serious injury and going armed with intent. These charges carry penalties totaling 20 years in prison, if ran consecutively. The attempted murder charge is 25 years. There is no information in the court documents to indicate if Gonterman will plead to the additional charges.       

Gonterman is accused of stabbing, as well as shooting multiple times at Michael A. White, 49, of Cedar Rapids, on June 29. A search warrant affidavit shows White called 911 and told Johnson County dispatchers he had been stabbed multiple times.

White, during the 911 call, said he didn’t know where he was, but law enforcement, using mapping software, located him on Swan Lake Road, about one-half mile east of Greencastle Avenue. The area is commonly referred to as Babcock’s Landing in the wildlife area.

Authorities said White’s shirt and pants were soaked in blood, and he had four puncture wounds in his back near his spinal column. He was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to the search warrant.

White, at the hospital, told authorities he and Gonterman, who was nicknamed “Santa Claus” because of his full white beard, were “friends and drinking buddies,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

The day of the incident, Gonterman asked White to go with him for a beer, the search warrant shows. After Gonterman brought one can of beer, he headed south on Interstate 380, exiting the highway at some point and driving to an isolated area.

When Gonterman parked, White said he pulled out a small black semi-automatic pistol and told him to get out of the truck, according to search warrant. Gonterman pointed the gun out the window and fired two shots. He then threatened White by saying, “You think I won’t shoot you,” and struck him twice in the head with the gun.

Gonterman told White again to get out of the truck and throw away his phone but White refused, and as he was leaning forward to tuck his phone into his sock he felt pressure on his back, according to court documents. When White realized he was realized he was hurt, got out of the truck and tried to call 911.

White said Gonterman then backed up the truck and drove forward, trying to run him down. White moved off the road, and Gonterman fired three or four shots at him, though no bullets struck him.

Gonterman drove away before police arrived and was later arrested, the search warrant shows.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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